Carnes: Voting for Dummies 101 (column)
October 22, 2018
Rest assured, fellow Happy Valleyites, this column is meant as a primer for perusing one's ballot, not an insulting statement toward any particular candidate. And considering the wonderful freedoms we have in America, one is free to interpret however they wish.
Voting "no" on all amendments and propositions without having a clue as to their intent or voting a party ticket instead of the individuals?
I encourage those giddy seeing a CNN reporter being hit with tear gas or Tucker Carlson having F-bombs tossed his direction at a restaurant to stay home on election day. I know it might drive you crazy that someone is enjoying life more than you at the moment, but that's still no excuse for ignorance.
Regardless, here is a quick review of this year's Eagle County ballot.
Amendment V allows for 21-year-olds to be members of the General Assembly, W allows for a formatting change in judicial retention elections, X changes the definition of industrial hemp to follow federal guidelines and Y and Z ban gerrymandering.
And then we circle all the way back to A to, um, abolish slavery.
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Yeah, for real.
So if you believe slavery is bad (A); someone old enough to order a beer can run for state office (V); filling in a bubble for judges should be easier (W); the federal government will eventually chill about all things hemp-related (X); and gerrymandering is an evil political tactic used by both sides, then vote "yes" for all.
Otherwise, do your own research and decide for yourself.
Then we have the amendments that go by numbers instead of letters.
Amendment 73 would increase taxes on those making more than you ($150,000 per year) and raise $1.6 billion in education funding, over $11 million of which would magically find its way to Eagle County Schools.
Amendment 74 allows government to be more involved if Big Oil wants to drill just over the fence from your backyard.
Amendment 75 says if your opponent is wealthy enough to donate more than $1 million of his or her money to their own campaign, then you (the poor schlub of an opponent) have permission to accept five times the normal limit from your own wealthy friends.
Proposition 109 (Fix our Damn Roads) wants to borrow money to fix Colorado roads while Proposition 110 (Let's Go Colorado) wants to borrow money and increase taxes to fix Colorado roads.
Let's just say choose your favorite tag line, as fixing roads is at least something government is supposed to do in the first place.
Proposition 111 will restrict those offering "Payday loans" to only charging 36 percent as opposed to the current average of 129 percent.
Proposition 112 will force Big Oil to drill much farther away from your backyard.
The Eagle County Open Space tax is hearing the fat lady sing, and if you want the show to continue for quite a while, consider voting for 1A.
Speaking of taxes, the town of Avon wants to tax more for cigarettes (2B); Eagle for fire protection (6A); Colorado Mountain College for maintaining "affordable college education" (7D); and Minturn for building things (2A).
As for candidates, you can choose a member of Congress — at the state level a governor, secretary, treasurer, attorney general, state senator and representative; and at the county level, only one race (county commissioner) is contested as all the rest are running unopposed. Avon council has one shy of a baseball team running to fill three bases plus home plate.
Do your own research and decide for yourself.
There's also a slew of judges that nobody knows except lawyers and those that have faced them, but voting against reinstatement is the closest we can get to term limits at this point.
No matter what, please do your own research, reach your own conclusions, mark your ballot however you feel is best for us all and remember to drop it in the mail.
Yes, we're all sick of hearing "less than a penny increase for every dollar," or "only $3 per $100,000 of assessed value" and "that's about the cost of a cup of coffee," but political types are desperate for our short attention spans. Just relish the thought that it all ends two weeks from today.
Until the 2020 race heats up, of course, which should start any day now.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com.